Thursday, October 6, 2011

It Stings

Buddy, the dog, doesn’t like bees; he tries to bite them. I don’t mind them; I understand their purpose: to pollinate and produce honey. I also know they can sting, but I accept that as part of the trade-off.

However, I am much less tolerant with wasps, hornets and other members of their swarm. I understand they are considered useful by those in the know, such as the University of Minnesota Extension office.

“Wasps are predators, feeding insects and other arthropods to their young…They are beneficial because they prey on many insects... Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food… Nests that are near human activity can pose a potential problem. If there is a concern about stings, you should eradicate the nest.”

They suggest that you wait until nightfall to attack. One method is to “cover the nest with a large, heavy, plastic bag and seal it shut. Cut the nest from the tree and freeze it or let the bag sit in the sun, which will kill the wasps inside in a day or two. Use caution: there is more risk involved in this procedure than in spraying the nest.”

Uh-huh. It seems to me that if you were unsuccessful you have only made a bad situation much worse. If they were aggressive before, they are sure to have revenge on their minds now. I have trouble with zip-lock baggies so I am going to avoid that method.

I like spraying them with an insecticide from a safe distance of two yards (mine and my neighbors). I think someone should invent a predator drone for home use. They seem to be working very well in the “war on terror” or “overseas contingency operations” or whatever the phrase of the day is.

I would buy one of those to avoid getting stung. I think most people would. I also think most people want to avoid the sting of paying more taxes than is legally required of them. But, there are always exceptions.

For instance, Doug Edwards, a retired millionaire and former Google employee, was an invited audience member of a town hall meeting held recently in California. He asked President Obama, “Would you please raise my taxes?”

I agree, please raise Mr. Edwards taxes. But I don’t think he meant just his, because anyone who felt that they weren’t paying “their fair share,” has an easy solution. Simply send the government a check.

According to, a U.S. Treasury website, “Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." They even give you the address to make it easy.

Warren Buffet, a zillionaire doesn’t think it’s right that his tax rate is lower than his secretary’s. Well, I don’t think it’s right that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, has owed the IRS one billion dollars since 2002.

But don’t take my word for it. Various websites (Newsmax, The Huffington Post) are running a story that a group called Americans for Limited Government (ALG) has said that Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report indicated the company is embroiled in an ongoing standoff over its tax bills. This was also included in an editorial in The New York Post.

I have talked to people who state that “they proudly pay their taxes,” or that “it’s their patriotic duty.” OK, is if this is true let’s raise the bar. How proud and patriotic do you want to be? At what level do taxes become too much?

I can imagine other requests from concerned citizens to follow: Please audit me, please seize my property, increase the assessed value of my home, draft me, arrest me, deport me, enslave me, take away my constitutional rights. Please take away my economic freedom.

When it comes to taxes I pay my fair share with as much pride and patriotism as I can muster. I am not stingy, but I’d like to know why there is this new intensity to pay more to the government, because if you take away the why I am left with a sting.

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